Jo Ann Barefoot’s personal story is almost as interesting as her professional one. She’s fly fished on five continents, searched for wolves in the Arctic and been charged by a bear. She joined the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 1978 and became the first woman to serve as a deputy comptroller. She also took on a specialty in consumer regulation before it was as large a focus in financial regulation as it is now.
Her career was going well enough, but she decided to take a break to write two novels and spend more time with her three children. That decision was critical to her success — she says it supercharged her right brain when she needed it most.
The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011 propelled her back into the workforce. Suddenly, consumer regulation was a hot topic, and she went to work as a consultant for the financial industry. She’s since started several businesses, served on the boards of financial technology companies and now works as CEO of a nonprofit she co-founded, the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, which aims to make the financial system inclusive, fair and resilient through the responsible use of new technology. The group organizes events to help solve mutual problems for regulators and the financial industry.
She talks about the challenges for regulators, the group’s work, and a recent gathering where participants stumbled on a child pornography case that the group referred to law enforcement. Since then, regulators have credited the event with changing the way they track down this type of crime. “There’s a place for boldness if we’re going to change the world today,” she says.
Hear more from this unique former regulator in this edition of The Slant Podcast.
This episode, and all past episodes of The Slant Podcast, are available on BankDirector.com, Spotify and Apple Music.